“Ensnared by Citizens United”

A short, pungent opinion piece by Lincoln Caplan in the NYT reports:

The G.O.P. of Sanders County, Mont., is expected to endorse a candidate soon in the state’s Supreme Court election, ending a 77-year-old prohibition.

Back in 1935, Montana made party endorsements in judicial elections a crime, an effective good-government measure that kept the third branch largely free of politics and money.

A recent study by law professors found that “every dollar of direct contributions from business groups is associated with an increase in the probability that the judges will vote for business litigants” when judges are in “partisan elections.”

I read the whole piece and was again revolted by what Citizens United and the utterly political Supreme Court of the United States have done to elections. Thing is, if the amoral dark money people can now pony up their gigantic bucks for judges — with the encouragement of the G.O.P. — they’ll be able to own benches from the city level right up to the federal courts.

Which means they’ll be able to own states and municipalities. And maybe Congress, too, as they have for the past several years. This will mean that they’ll be able to perpetuate their ownership of justice and the law until … well, until either they get tired of it, or until we revolt. And I mean “revolt” in a way more public than simply throwing up.


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